Khaylan Thomas, one of the top linebackers in the nation and one of the top players on the West Coast in the Class of 2015, is receiving some major interest from big-time schools.
Thomas attends Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Etiwanda High School, and is projected to play either outside or inside linebacker at the next level. ESPN and 247sports consider him an outside linebacker, while Rivals and Scout project him to play inside. Thomas is considered a four-star prospect by 247sports and Scout, while Rivals rates him as a three-star prospect and ESPN has not yet rated him. The 247sports composite, which aggregates the ratings of all four major recruiting services, considers him a four-star, rating him as the 15th-best outside linebacker in the nation and the 29th-best player in the state of California.
Thomas claims offers from UCLA, Miami, Nebraska, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State, among others.
Derrell Warren, West Coast Recruiting Analyst (@yssd):
Thomas is an athlete with good size at 6’2, 220 pounds. He carries a strong base with room for growth in his upper body, and has the frame to reach 250. He's a fierce striker who is explosive on contact, and his powerful lower body enables him to be a very effective tackler.
Thomas is more of an B-gap to B-gap run stuffer than a linebacker who is going to run down plays to the sideline, and he's a high-effort player who flashes a good motor on film, often showing excellent backside pursuit.
Now, Thomas can be a bit tight-hipped when asked to change direction. He often has to gather his frame prior to re-directing his momentum, and functions better in tight areas where he can get downhill quickly and square up ball carriers.
On film there are several clip of Thomas coming off the edge and rushing the quarterback. At the next level however, he might project better shooting interior gaps as a blitzer in order to consistently create pressure. He has a good first step and is a quality finisher when he pursues the quarterback, but does lack ideal length and bend. Due to this, having him shoot interior gaps and avoiding longer, more athletic offensive tackles on the edge is likely the best way to maximize his blitzing effectiveness.